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Interactive Data: DROP Pension Payouts to Police and Fire Employees Exceed $1 Billion

Two years ago, SoCal Connected looked into a little-known city program -- passed by the voters over a decade ago -- that allows for some veteran city police and firefighters to "retire" and come back to work with their regular pay, while the city pays into their pensions in an interest-accruing account. The Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP, is also referred to as a city-sanctioned "double dip" by some. Our latest update reveals not much has been done to address those concerns.

And while the maximum individual payout in our 2011 story was around $900,000, the newly-released data in the chart below show one police chief and one fire chief cashed out at over $1 million each, and that's in addition to receiving their regular salaries. The total combined payout for all DROP participants that were reported to SoCal Connected exceeds $1 billion.

As our story points out, the main candidates in the upcoming mayoral election have been hesitant to discuss, let alone touch, this municipal sacred cow, lest it upset the police and firefighters' unions who support their campaigns.

Some argue the DROP program here and similar ones in other states have actually saved municipal governments on pension costs. We offer the following table of DROP participants for Los Angeles -- with names redacted by the city -- in the interest of openness and discussion.


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